Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Crows Nest National Park, QLD. Part 1: Crows Nest and Applegum Walk.

Crows Nest National Park is 56 km north of Toowoomba and 6 km east of the small town of Crows Nest. We camped there at Easter in 2012 and during the September school holidays this year. There are 13 defined campsites that need to be booked online for holiday times and long weekends. Sites 5 - 11 are always book online sites. Sites 1-4 and 12-13 are available for self-registration at other times. There are pit toilets, a donkey shower and two picnic tables. We had very good Telstra mobile reception. No pets or generators are allowed.

Crows Nest National Park Camping Area
On our way there we stopped off at Esk. Esk is on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail; a popular cycle, walk and horse riding trail.

Esk Railway Station
After leaving Esk we found ourselves at a standstill for some time as a caravan a few cars ahead of us caught fire. The people were able to uncouple it from their tow vehicle but the van couldn't be saved.

Caravan Fire on the Esk-Hampton Road
Arriving at Crows Nest Camping Area around mid-day we found the campground was full. On our Easter trip the campground wasn't full but someone was setting up on the site we had booked. When we arrived this time the site we had booked was fully occupied by two families and a full camper trailer setup.We popped over for a chat just to check that they were the people that were leaving that day and then we went to the Day Use Area.The walks start from the day use area and it is a very pleasant area on the river with picnic tables, BBQs and toilets.We thought that we would probably gain access to the site about 4.00 pm but were pleasantly surprised when the campers vacated the site in only an hour. We have no idea how they accomplished that so quickly with such a big set-up but it was really nice of them.

Bullockys Rest
After setting up our tent we headed into Crows Nest to Bullockys Rest, next to the Police Station. We were surprised by the number and variety of birds in this park.

Bullockys Rest
Pale-headed Eastern Rosella 
Tawny Frogmouth
Noisy Miner
As it was early summer there were a number of young birds to be seen.

Juvenile Noisy Miner
Applegum Walk
Applegum Walk is a really great walk starting from Bullockys Rest park. It is a 1.5 km walk to Hartmann Park, where you can cross Crows Nest Creek and do a 500 m circuit walk before recrossing the creek. Then you can return the way you came or do a circuit by walking into Crows Nest via Willam Street and take the New England Highway back to Bullockys Rest. We did the loop through Crows Nest the first time and we enjoyed the walk so much that we came back a couple of days later and did the return walk. On the walk we saw a few goannas (lace monitors), one of which was way up high in an old tree, perhaps intent on a feed of birds eggs and an Eastern Water Dragon was perched on a rock at The Pumphole, a deep pool that used to supply water to the Butter Factory.

Eastern Water Dragon
Some of the birds we saw were Eastern Whipbirds, Red-browed Finches, Noisy Friarbirds, Laughing Kookaburras, Superb Fairy-wrens, Variegated Fairy-wrens, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and Lewin's Honeyeaters. Pheasant Coucals could be heard but we didn't see them.

Yellow-faced Honeyeaters
Laughing Kookaburras
Crows Nest is an attractive small town. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lake Leslie, Leslie Dam, QLD

Continuing our September school holiday mini odyssey we made our way to Lake Leslie, a popular fishing spot about 14 km from Warwick. We were shocked at how dry and barren looking the whole lake area was on this trip.

Lake Leslie
There is a lovely park, picnic area and lookout at the dam wall, about 3.5 km from the campground. There are two large stone sculptures of Patrick Leslie and his wife Kate in the park. The dam was named after the Leslies who established a large station in the area.

Sculpture of Kate Leslie
Leslie Dam
Eastern Rosella

We drove past Lake Leslie Tourist Park on our way to the campground.

Lake Leslie Tourist Park
Washpool Camping Reserve is set on several acres alongside Leslie Dam. There are a large number of sites which cater for tents through to large rigs. In the September 2014 school holidays the fees were $12 per night for 13 year olds and over, and $5 for 12 year olds and under. With an extra $4 per site per night for power or $18 per site per week. There is a park office, kiosk/shop that sells bait and ice, a boat ramp, toilets and hot showers. No pets are allowed. Areas close to the lake were busy but there was still plenty of room to spread out further back.

Washpool Camping Reserve
Washpool Camping Reserve
Cabbage White Pieris rapae

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kawana Forest Walking Trail, Sunshine Coast, QLD

The Kawana Forest Walking Trail is a short easy walk in Meridan Plains that borders the suburb known as Kawana Forest. It starts opposite Tulipwood Court, loops into remnant paperbark and eucalypt forest and comes out again at Lillypilly Court. We extended the walk by taking the pathway east to Kawana Wetlands. Before we even entered the walk we saw Pale-headed Rosellas and Brown Cuckoo-Doves feeding on the forest edge.

Pale-headed Rosella
Brown Cuckoo-Dove
It was a good morning for butterfly sightings.

Monarch Danaus plexippus
Brown Ringlet Hypocysta metirius
Regent Skipper Euschemon rafflesia
The forest is a habitat for endangered microbats and nesting boxes have been provided for their use. I think it would be a great walk to do at night; be on the lookout for microbats and sugar gliders. Groves of Piccabeen Palm and Cabbage Palm can be seen on the walk. In the forest we saw Golden Whistlers, Olive-backed Orioles and Grey Shrike-thrush.

Piccabeen Palms

Cabbage Palm
We came back out of the forest and walked along the path to the wetlands area. Scarlet Honeyeaters were feeding on flowering native plants.

Scarlet Honeyeater, male
Scarlet Honeyeater, female
 In the wetlands area we saw Great Egret, Royal Spoonbills and Purple Swamphens.

Royal Spoonbill and Great Egret
Royal Spoobills

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Warwick, QLD

On our way to Lake Leslie we visited Warwick. We pulled up at the Womina Railway Siding Revegetation Project on the corner of the Cunningham Highway and Womina-Willowvale Road. This turned out to be a scrap of dry bush on the side of the highway, however, we were excited to see Musk Lorikeets for the first time. They were busy feeding high up in the gum trees making them a challenge to photograph.

Musk Lorikeet
After lunch in Leslie Park we moved to Queens Park and went for a stroll along the Condamine River. There were Galahs, Little Black Cormorants and Wood Ducks on the riverbank.

The Condamine River
Australian Wood Ducks, male and female
Red-rumped Parrots and Little Corellas were nesting in the natural hollows of older trees in Queens Park.

Queens Park, Warwick
Little Corella
Red-rumped Parrot, male
Red-rumped Parrot, female
We drove out of town via Bracker Road and pulled over west of Tooth Street for excellent views over Warwick.

Warwick, QLD

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Palms National Park and Swinging Bridge Park, Cooyar, QLD.

The Palms National Park.

The Palms National Park is about 94 km north of Toowoomba and about 8 km north-east of Cooyar. It is a very small national park that protects a patch of piccabeen palms Archontophoenix cunninghamiana and sub-tropical rainforest. There are a couple of picnic tables and a 650 m circuit track with boardwalks through the forest. There is no camping or pets allowed. The piccabeens are a haven for grey-headed flying foxes in the summer. Locals told us that it is a haven for sulphur-crested cockatoos in spring so we will have to go back and see.

Swinging Bridge Park, Cooyar.

Swinging Bridge Park is behind the Cooyar Hotel, on the banks of Cooyar Creek. It is a free camping spot for up to 48 hours. There are picnic tables and wood BBQ’s. The old toilet block has been closed down so it’s a bit of a walk to the amenities block. 

Suspension Swinging Bridge, Cooyar

Camping Area at Swinging Bridge Park, Cooyar

Cooyar Creek
We have a friend who had been to a number of places that are good for viewing platypus but had never been successful in seeing one until she stayed the night in the Cooyar Hotel and saw one here in Cooyar Creek.  We saw Australian King Parrots on the banks of Cooyar Creek. Barn Owls are known to roost in the trees around the park.

Australian King Parrot, male

Australian King Parrot, female